When discussing the concept of “single malts,” we can no longer assume that automatically means Scotch. Based on search terms and traffic from the popular booze site Wine-Searcher, it looks like Japanese and Indian single malt whiskies are making headway amongst whisky aficionados.
Wine-Searcher, a wine and spirits search engine that started back in 1999, ranked the top 10 single malt searches on their site for the last year, which is a fair way to discuss drinks’ popularity. As WS notes, they’re the biggest wine and spirits website that measures demand, and they get millions of searches performed by global users every day.
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The top 10? The first five shouldn’t surprise anyone: three expressions by The Macallan, a Glenfiddich and a Johnnie Walker. But four of the next five top searches were claimed by Amrut and Rampur (Indian), along with two by Yamazaki (Japanese). The year before, the list had no Indian whiskies at all.
Credit, in part, goes to the site’s increased audience from one country in particular. “The three newcomers are two Indian whiskies and the Johnny Walker Green Label, and all three of these have been propelled into the top 10 by searches coming from India,” the site notes.
Wine-Searcher credits the Indian whisky surge to a number of factors — a growing middle class in India, increased awareness of and pride in India of local whiskies, and big tariffs on imported spirits within that country.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Scotch is less popular. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the value of Scotch whisky exports was up 37% by value in 2022 (and 21% in quantity). It simply means that more people from a very populous country are taking an interest in a local product and the idea of single malts, which, reminder, simply means a whisky that is a product of a single distillery.
Also, if you look at the chart, those Indian whisky prices are less than $100, making it a nice starting point for drinkers who want to expand their palates (for example, we quite liked the just-released Rampur Select single malt). Best of all, once the United States makes American Single Malt an official category, we may see some domestic bottles hit the Wine-Searcher top 10.
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